Outdoor play is essential for your child’s development, regardless of their personality. That being said, some kids, mainly introverts, need more encouragement than others to try new activities, make new friends, or experience the outside world.
So, if you feel like your introverted child may be reluctant to spend time outside, continue reading to know why they feel this way and how to ease them into it.
The Short Answer
Yes, your shy and introverted children can definitely love the outdoors. However, their cautious nature makes them seem a little bit hesitant or “scared” at first. However, that’s only because they take their time processing new information and perceiving external environments.
With a little bit of understanding and gentle guidance on your part, your shy child will love the outdoors more than you anticipated was possible.
What Makes Introverted Children Different?
Introversion isn’t as simple as just preferring to be alone or away from loud environments. To elaborate, various studies have shown that introverts react to external stimulants differently from their peers.
They Take Their Time
According to a 2008 study, introverts tend to take more time than extroverts to process new information, and they do it more thoughtfully.
So, while an extroverted child follows impulses and joins their friends in whatever adventure they’re embarking on, an introverted child takes a step back and thinks it through before making a decision.
Get Overwhelmed Faster
Another critical difference between the two groups is how they respond to dopamine. This feel-good neurotransmitter is a vital chemical that motivates a person to do certain activities to seek rewards, such as practicing sports or making new friends. While extroverts react strongly to dopamine, introverts end up feeling overstimulated and wanting out.
They’re Actually Great
That being said, it’s essential to understand that introversion isn’t a bad trait. In fact, it can be fantastic for a child. And we’ll tell you how.
For one, introverted children are attentive listeners and observants. In addition, most introverted children end up surprising their parents and peers with how creative and intelligent they are.
Also, introverted kids don’t need someone to entertain them all the time and are perfectly content alone. Also, they enjoy activities that allow them to explore themselves, which we’ll get into.
Contrary to popular belief, introverted children tend to make their own rules and follow their own values, meaning that they’re less likely to be peer pressured. In addition, their careful and reserved nature saves them a lot of trouble that many children get into.
When it comes to friendships, introverted children prefer nurturing a few close relationships to having tons of superficial ones.
How to Make Your Shy, Introverted Child Comfortable Outside
1. Start by Opening Windows Inside
It may sound silly at first, but opening windows is the most brilliant way to ease your child into an environment that they haven’t explored yet.
If your child has spent most of their time indoors, opening windows gives them a glimpse of the outside so that they can observe the environment while still feeling sheltered at home. Letting the sunlight in can do wonders for your child’s energy and mood as well.
2. Bring Snacks Outside
One of the simplest ways to encourage your kid to enter a foreign space is to bring something they like along with them. What’s easier than a snack? Snacks help your child get in the mood for fun. This way, going outside won’t feel like a chore that they have to do.
3. Pick the Right Activities
Generally, there’s no shortage of sports and activities for children to do, but some activities make introverted kids feel more comfortable than others. Here are a few:
Swimming increases children’s strength and cardiovascular health, improves their flexibility and coordination, and helps them enjoy the outside. Even better, it isn’t team-based. So, an introverted child can definitely dip their toes in the water, no pun intended, without being bombarded with social interactions.
Martial arts are also excellent for introverts because they allow them to connect with themselves, body and soul. Moreover, they promote the child’s confidence, which is more than welcome.
Needless to say, kites don’t need teams to fly them; you and your child are enough as a start. It’s a screen-free activity that gets your child out of the house and helps them experience the joy of watching the kites soar in the sky, which never gets old.
Small family picnics in the closest garden or park are lovely because they merge the benefits of the outside with the familiarity of being surrounded by family. If you make picnics a thing, your child won’t be so hesitant about the green.
4. Introduce Your Child to Other Children Slowly
As time goes by, you’ll want to invite friends to join your child’s outdoor activities or help your child make new ones. It’s important to understand that introverts communicate best one-on-one, so help them make friends one by one instead of immediately forcing them into a group.
5. Respect Their Downtime
Whether they love the outdoors or not, introverts always need their downtime to recharge. Not respecting that will lead them to feel overwhelmed or tired in an active setting. So, pay attention to when your child has played enough and wants to go home.
As you can see, there’s a lot more to introverted children than meets the eye. These introspective little ones love to take their time to process their surroundings and thrive in close, deep friendships.
Undoubtedly, the outdoors helps them develop like other children, but they have to be eased into the outdoors at their own pace. That being said, the result is quite rewarding because your child will be at peace outside and inside and alone or with friends.